Line of Sky – Heloise

Mike Grigoni’s debut full-length is chock-full of rich instrumentation and wistful lyrics. Despite the despair, the album is beautifully written and warrants a listen from fans of all genres.

From the opening track, “Arrows,” the atmospheric depth of both the lap steel and Grigoni’s voice both grand an intimate. While there is an inherent amount of twang from the lap and pedal steel, it only straddles the line of committing to bluegrass. Instead of sounding down-home, the steel accents the music to create a lingering melancholy. The overall timbre of the album dictates the way it should be experienced.

Heloise should be heard straight through rather than by fragmented, separate tracks. A clear example of this is “Mexico,” which shows Grigoni at his most confrontational. His voice plays a major role the whole way though and creates a nice narrative for the track. His singing is quietly downplayed until this point and offers a discreet way of diversifying his sound without compromising his tonality.

Heloise is very consistent, drawing upon the same sounds for each track. This may deter some listeners who require a lot of variety in their music, but does not suggest any sort of musical weakness. Also, his vocal range seems to be the male equivalent of Cat Power, drawing on a raspy whisper for most of the album. However, Grigoni manages to keep things interesting by including layered sounded that is capable of holding an audience rather than putting them to sleep.

This record is somberly welcoming and introduces a fragile artist. At the end of the album, I get the urge to listen again, which allows for quiet appreciation and attention to detail.